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DevBootcamp Installfest

What we'll cover

  1. subl
  2. Understanding the Unix Environment
  3. Homebrew
  4. sqlite3
  5. postgres
  6. RVM/rbenv
  7. Ruby
  8. gems

Want to skip all the hard work?

Check out my automated environment setup doctor.


We'll start by testing that subl is somewhere in our $PATH (we'll cover $PATH later):

$ which subl

If this comes back blank, then we need to set up the subl command. A quick Google search for "Sublime command line" gives me the directions.

These directions will link the subl executable packaged with the Sublime Application to your $HOME/bin directory. Before you can link the command, you'll want to ensure you have a $HOME/bin directory (mkdir -p $HOME/bin) and that $HOME/bin is in your $PATH.

I recommend putting the symlink in /usr/local/bin instead of $HOME/bin. Here's how I do it:

$ find /Applications/Sublime\ Text\ -name subl
/Applications/Sublime Text
$ ln -fs "/Applications/Sublime Text" /usr/local/bin/subl
$ which subl

The Unix Environment

The Unix environment is a huge topic. For today's purposes, we'll be interacting with a few pieces:

  1. printenv
  2. $PATH
  • $ echo $PATH or a bit more useful $ echo $PATH | tr : '\n'
  • $ which <some_command> and $ which -a <some_command>
  • /etc/paths (and why you shouldn't modify this)
  1. $PS1
  • Your prompt.
  1. $HOME/.bash_profile, $HOME/.bashrc, $HOME/.profile
  • Your login environment's customizations

For more information on the Unix directory structure, check out this and this.


First let's ensure we've installed homebrew correctly.

$ which brew

If you don't see this, run:

ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL"

Homebrew is going to do a lot of work for us, so always ensure that it's up-to-date and that it's healthy.

brew update


$ brew doctor

brew doctor may tell you a lot of stuff… you'll want to read through each item, and attempt to resolve the issue for Homebrew. We're ideally shooting for a message like this:

$ brew doctor
Your system is ready to brew.

Adjusting $PATH for Homebrew

Homebrew is going to be installing packages and tools for us, so we need to make sure that when possible our system is using homebrew's installed packages.

We'll start by inspecting our path

$ echo $PATH | tr : '\n'

Ensure that /usr/local/bin comes before /usr/bin and /bin.

If it doesn't, open $HOME/.bash_profile using Sublime Text and add the following:

export PATH="/usr/local/bin:$PATH"

Also check out the rbenv documentation.

Installing sqlite3 using Homebrew

$ brew install sqlite3

OS X provides sqlite3 for you, so we'll need to force homebrew to link it so that we can use the homebrew version by default:

$ brew link sqlite3 --force

Installing postgres using Homebrew

$ brew install postgres

postgres is a piece of software that requires a server to interface with. It's easiest to let OS X's launchd utility keep this server running, otherwise we'd have to restart it every time it died or our machine rebooted.

$ ln -sfv /usr/local/opt/postgresql/*.plist ~/Library/LaunchAgents
$ launchctl load ~/Library/LaunchAgents/homebrew.mxcl.postgresql.plist
$ which postgres
$ which psql

Now Homebrew will keep our postgres server alive so that we can just develop awesome apps and not worry about the database. Let's ensure that we have a server running. To do that we'll use ps:

ps aux | grep postgres
mike              444   0.0  0.0  2439324    148   ??  Ss   13Feb14   0:02.33 postgres: stats collector process
mike              443   0.0  0.0  2443176    624   ??  Ss   13Feb14   0:02.44 postgres: autovacuum launcher process
mike              442   0.0  0.0  2443044     80   ??  Ss   13Feb14   0:03.72 postgres: wal writer process
mike              441   0.0  0.0  2443044    132   ??  Ss   13Feb14   1:29.90 postgres: writer process
mike              440   0.0  0.0  2443044    136   ??  Ss   13Feb14   0:00.14 postgres: checkpointer process
mike              403   0.0  0.0  2443044     68   ??  S    13Feb14   0:00.40 /usr/local/opt/postgresql/bin/postgres -D /usr/local/var/postgres -r /usr/local/var/postgres/server.log
mike             6469   0.0  0.0  2432768    600 s000  R+    5:42PM   0:00.00 grep postgres

The process with pid (process id) #403 is our server process. You can see here what executable (the full path) is running, where the data file is (ie. /usr/local/var/postgres), and where we can find the logs (ie. /usr/local/var/postgres/server.log).

Finally, create a default database and test our postgres client, psql.

createdb $USER
psql $USER # this is a sql console for interacting with a postgres database

Managing Ruby Installations

rvm, rbenv, or chruby? There are a number of different popular tools for installing/managing/using different versions of ruby on your machine.

We're going to use rbenv (that's what's on the DBc workstations). If you already have rvm installed, you are fine, and can skip this portion.

Verifying your Ruby Manager

which rbenv
which rvm

Install rbenv using Homebrew

$ brew install ruby-build rbenv

rbenv will store rubies and gems to $HOME/.rbenv. There's no need to change this. ruby-build is the tool that will do the installing.

Now that rbenv is installed, we need to configure our environment to use it. The instructions say that we need to add the following to our $HOME/.bash_profile:

if which rbenv > /dev/null; then eval "$(rbenv init -)"; fi


$ rbenv install --list      # will list all of the Rubies ruby-build can install
$ rbenv install 2.0.0-p353  # will install ruby 2.0.0 patch 353
$ rbenv versions            # will list the Rubies you already have installed
$ rbenv global 2.0.0-p353   # will set the global/shell/local ruby


Let's make sure you're NOT using the system ruby.

$ which ruby

If this says /usr/bin/ruby, then we need to get your ruby installed via a ruby version manager. I suggest rbenv (see above).

If you're using rbenv, run this:

$ rbenv which ruby

Same as above, it should not say /usr/bin/ruby. If it does, then install a ruby (via rbenv), then set it as your default ruby (rbenv global <ruby version you installed>).


Most gems are fairly easy to install, but there are a few that we use at DBC that can be problematic (usually the ones with native dependencies). Let's start by verifying that the gem executable is installed via a ruby version manager.

$ which gem

You'll notice that gem is in the same directory as ruby (from above). This is good. If they aren't in the same place that's usually a problem. If it's /usr/bin/gem that's an issue.

If you're using rbenv, run:

$ rbenv which gem

Again, just like ruby, this shouldn't say /usr/bin/gem. It should also be in the same location as when you ran rbenv which ruby.

Let's also update rubygems.

$ gem update --system

Alright, ON TO THE HARD GEMS! First, bundler.

gem install bundler
rbenv rehash        // if you're using rbenv

And the rest:

gem install sqlite3 pg nokogiri


Install git using Homebrew

$ brew install git

Ensure we're using git from homebrew:

$ which git

Question: OS X ships with git isn't that good enough? Answer: It might be, but it's likely out of date, and you won't benefit from new tools and developments. git is a tool we'll use frequently, so installing it and keeping it up to date is akin to a chef keeping his knives sharp. Up-to-date tools are one of the marks of a craftsman, strive to be a craftsman.

Install bash using Homebrew

$ brew install bash

To use this new version of bash, we'll need to add it to /etc/shells. /etc/shells is owned by the root user (verify using ls -la /etc/shells), so we'll need to use sudo to write to it.

$ sudo -s "echo /usr/local/bin/bash >> /etc/shells"

Now we need to change our shell command:

$ chsh -s /usr/local/bin/bash

All set. We can launch a new teminal window and verify our setup.

$ bash --version

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@femmestem femmestem commented Jan 13, 2015

brew no longer supports services (which was a hidden undocumented feature):

$ brew services start postgres
>> Error: Unknown command: services


To install the services package from a third party:

$ brew tap grapple/services


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@mikelikesbikes mikelikesbikes commented Jan 13, 2015

@femmestem Thanks for the note. Silly homebrew, getting rid of hidden shortcuts! Anyways, run brew info postgres follow the instructions to created and launch the service using launchd.

$ ln -sfv /usr/local/opt/postgresql/*.plist ~/Library/LaunchAgents
$ launchctl load ~/Library/LaunchAgents/homebrew.mxcl.postgresql.plist

I've updated the instructions above.


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@moxdev moxdev commented Jan 14, 2015

Hey Mike thanks for the great instructions! Just wanted to let you know it looks like Homebrew has moved to the below location.

ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL"


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@McEileen McEileen commented Mar 25, 2016

Hi Mike, I'm at a write/speak/code work night and another w/s/c member who did DBC just pointed me toward these instructions. They helped lots, thank you!

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